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Boy author raises money for tsunami relief

 


Boy author raises money for tsunami relief

June 20, 2005

A UMNS Feature
By Allison Scahill*

Moved by the tragedy of the Dec. 26 tsunami, 8-year-old Evan Korte has found a way to make a difference in the lives of survivors.

With help from his mother, Jennifer, Evan has written a book titled "Poor Old Dog" to sell as a fund raiser. All the profits will go to the United Methodist Committee on Relief to aid those affected by the tsunami.

"An author was visiting (Evan’s) school in December, and she was talking about what it was like to write books and work with the illustrator," says Jennifer Korte, of Grand Blanc, Mich. "Evan thought that was so cool and said to me, ‘I want to write a story, and I want you to be my illustrator.’"

She and Evan sat down one night, and he told a story about their family dog, Jango, a Brittany spaniel. His mother gave feedback and the two bounced ideas off of each other, then finished the text of the book. All that was left were the pictures.

"I needed something to write about, so I just thought I’d write about my dog," explains Evan, who just completed second grade. "It’s just something that I wanted to do."

After the tsunami hit Dec. 26, Korte says she called her three sons in to watch the news with her, not realizing at first how serious or overwhelming the news was going to be.

"I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, what do I do with this complete devastation they’re seeing?’" she recalls. "I immediately asked them what we should do to help."

The four of them brainstormed on fund-raising ideas, but it wasn’t until Evan asked his mother, again, to illustrate his book that the idea came about to sell it.

"It was a like a light bulb that went off for both of us," she says.

The book may never have been finished if not for Evan’s persistence, Korte says.

"I kept telling him that I didn’t know if I was good enough, but then I thought, ‘What am I going to teach him about what he can do if I don’t do this?’" she says. "So I drew the pictures and scanned them into my computer and printed off a copy."

Evan says he was confident in his mother’s artistic ability.

"I thought she was a good drawer," he says. "When my brother and I were little, we always asked my mom to draw dinosaurs for us. We really liked dinosaurs, and she kept drawing really good dinosaurs."

Korte says she initially thought about giving a few copies to relatives and neighbors who would be more than willing to buy a copy. She realized the book’s potential for a wider audience when she took a copy to her Bible study and Evan took one to his teacher. The rest was history.

Evan’s ultimate goal is $1,000 in sales, and he has already passed the $750 mark. He decided to give the money to UMCOR because of its church connection, he says.

"It works through the church, so we know we can trust it," he explains. "It’s who we usually send money to."

The Rev. Dave Truran, senior pastor at Fenton United Methodist Church, where the Kortes attend, has bought a copy of the book and says he fully supports Evan’s effort.

"We didn’t really know much about it until an article appeared in the (Michigan Christian) Advocate," Truran says. "After we got wind of it, I thought certainly their home church should do something."

The church’s librarian suggested a book signing, which will be July 10. "She said, ‘Since we have an author, why don’t we have a book signing,’" Truran says. "It’s exciting … this young boy who wrote this story and his mother doing the pictures."

The books are sold for $2 or any amount of donation. "I got really excited when someone gave us a $100 bill for just three books," Evan says.

In addition to the book signing, he will probably walk through his neighborhood knocking on doors in order to reach his $1,000 goal, he says. People interested in the book can call Fenton Church at (810) 629-2132.

Evan says he has wanted to write a book since preschool but is not sure if he will continue with his writing career.

"I’m a pretty good writer, but this is the first one to be published," he says. "I’m just thinking about (writing another book) right now."

Scahill, a mass communications major at United Methodist-related Baker University in Baldwin City, Kan., is an intern with the Convergence Team at United Methodist Communications.

News media contact: Tim Tanton, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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